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Urge senators to lift the cap on charitable donations!

Please tell Senate Finance Committee members that limiting the amount of funds non-profit organizations can raise in Vermont to fund their missions is the wrong way to raise revenue.


The Vermont House has passed legislation that would cap itemized deductions at 2.5 percent of the state standard deduction ($15,500/individual; $31,000/couple). The bill, which reportedly raises $33.2 million, is now before the Senate Finance Committee. Please contact members of the Senate finance Committee at and tell them that such a cap could have an adverse effect on the good work the AHA is doing in Vermont.


In a response to Vermont’s non-profit community recently Senate Finance Committee Chair Tim Ashe stated the following, “…one thing is clear – Vermont’s tax system is in need of change. We currently tax the things that are not growing, and we do not tax the things that are growing. I am in no jag whatsoever to merely raise new taxes to “get us through this year.” We really do need a long-term approach so that both government and our non-profit partners have stable funding for planning and operational purposes.”


We agree. Please tell committee members that implementing excise taxes on tobacco and sugary drinks could raise significant revenue for the state but more importantly, deter unhealthy behaviors that lead to diseases such as heart disease, stroke and cancer that are costing the state millions.

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Public Health Passes CPR in Schools

The Public Health Committee recently voted out a bill requiring high school students learn Hands-Only CPR and AED awareness before graduating. There was overwhelming support for the legislation and committee members spoke glowingly about the bill during the comment period before the vote. This was a great victory for the American Heart Association volunteers who testified at the Public Hearing. The Bill has picked number of cosponsors since the public hearing, currently the number stands at thirteen, including newly elected State Senator Ted Kennedy Jr. The next step for the bill is a vote in the Education Committee. American Heart Association volunteers have been reaching out to to the members on the Education Committee to ensure the CPR in Schools Bill successfully moves out of the committee. There are currently 21 states that require high school students learn CPR before graduating, and Connecticut is on track to become the 22nd state to have students learn the lifesaving skill.

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Carla Leonard Has a Second Chance...

Thanks to Louis' Law, Carla Leonard is alive and can watch her daughter grow.

As a school crisis intervention aid, Carla  had grown to hate one part of her morning routine: bumping her head on the AED situated right near her desk.   Ironically, CPR and that AED saved her life.  She was 43 when she went into sudden cardiac arrest during the morning pledge.  The school nurse quickly started CPR and used the AED.  This gave Carla  a fighting chance at survival until EMTs arrived.

Carla knows she is one of the lucky ones.   About 90% of sudden cardiac arrest victims do NOT survive.  As a survivor, Carla is now doing everything she can to help change this grim statistic.  New York put safety put by requiring schools to have AEDs.    Now, Carla has personally contacted each member of the Board of Regents to urge them to take the next step -  to require CPR and AED instruction for students.

We're getting closer...will you join Carla by contacting the Board of Regents today? 

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Countdown to CPR in Schools Report

The countdown has begun...The NYS Department of Education is required to issue a report to the NYS Board of Regents by April 19th.  Many of you have taken actions to help get us where we are - we've reached out to lawmakers, the Governor; we've tweeted and posted on Facebook; we've shared our stories with friends, family and the media; we've called, emailed and written letters...and we're in the final stretch.  We know CPR in Schools will save lives and that is why we keep sending messages to the Board of Regents.  One person that has bravely shared her story is Katarina Weigel. 

On July 15th, 2010, Katarina was at her high school volleyball practice.  She doesn't know what happened next but the people around her remember.  She went into sudden cardiac arrest.  Her coaches performed CPR and used the automatic external defibrillator. She doesn't  look like the face of sudden cardiac arrest.  She was just 15.  Since that time she has learned that sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, anytime. The faces of sudden cardiac arrest will surprise you.  

Now she has educated her high school about the importance of CPR, shared her story with elementary school children and adults, used social media to push for CPR in schools an attended numerous events explaining how easy CPR can be learned and preformed. 

And this week...she reached out to each and every member of the Board of Regents to tell them to say YES to CPR in Schools.


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Rhode Island House Committee Considers Funding CPR in Schools

On March 18, Dr. Brian Silver, President of the American Heart Association’s Rhode Island Board of Directors, asked the House Finance Committee to include funding in the FY 2016 Budget to purchase new CPR manikins for all public high schools in the Ocean State.  Dr. Silver noted in his testimony that the relatively small amount of funding requested could go a long way toward helping schools implement the 2013 CPR in Schools Law.      

The CPR in Schools Law requires high school students to receive hands-on CPR training and an overview of automated external defibrillator (AED) use prior to graduation as part of the health education curriculum.  While there are many ways this can be accomplished, providing purpose-built CPR manikins will help ensure quality training for all students.     

Right now, approximately 90 percent of people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest do not survive – most die because they do not receive bystander CPR.  The death rate is staggering and tragic.  With your help, we are going to change that in Rhode Island by creating a generation of lifesavers and heroes.  CPR is one of life’s critical lessons – let’s make sure our students are as prepared as possible to save a life.  

Click the following link to ask our state leaders to include funding in the FY 2016 Budget for CPR in Schools: 

Many thanks to Dr. Silver for testifying on this important issue!


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Call to Action: Urge Representative Stevens to Prioritized CPR in Schools

Thanks to the actions of advocates like yourself, our CPR in schools bill, House Bill 2594, passed out of the House Education Committee with flying colors!  The next step in the legislative process is for HB 2594 to be heard in the House Rules Committee. 

Unfortunately, the House Rules Committee Chari, Representative Stevens, has not made CPR in Schools a priority yet and has not put HB 2594 on the agenda.

Please take a moment to call Representative Stevens and urge him to hear HB 2594 in committee without delay!  Representative Stevens can be reached at 602-926-4321 and you will likely reach his wonderful staff or a voicemail so the call will only take a moment!

Key talking points are as follows:

  • Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death, with over 5,000 incidents per year in Arizona. 
  • 4 out of 5 Sudden Cardiac Arrests happen in the home and the life that is saved with CPR is most likely to be a loved one.
  • Hands-Only CPR takes 2 steps: 1) Call 9-1-1 and 2) Push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of ”Stayin’ Alive”
  • Hands-Only CPR is equally as effective as conventional CPR in treating sudden cardiac arrest victims.
  • I respectfully urge Representative Stevens to hear HB 2594 and place it on the Rules Committee agenda without delay!

Your support truly will go a long way towards making Arizona a safer state.  If you have questions, or would like help customizing your testimony, please email Nicole Olmstead at

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Heart Saver Spotlight: Skylar Berry

Every year there are almost 424,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the United States, and of this figure an estimated 10,200 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen to children.  Sadly, only 10% of victims who suffer a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting survive, largely in part because many victims do not receive timely CPR or AED application. 

Do you know CPR? If not, please take two minutes to learn the basics of Hands-Only CPR.

Skylar Berry can attest to the importance of knowing CPR.  In the summer, Skylar and her friends were at a birthday party and one of the attendees was found floating at the bottom of the pool, seemingly lifeless.  Thankfully, Skylar recognized that her classmate was not joking and not breathing and helped pull him from the pool. She checked his pulse, and then realized CPR might be the last resort to reviving her classmate.  Because of her immediate actions, her classmate survived and was back to life as normal within a few days. 

Thankfully Skylar learned CPR techniques in Fire Camp hosted by the Sacramento Metro Fire Department a few weeks prior to the incident.  “I am so glad I learned CPR because it helped save my friend’s life,” said Berry. “It was scary but I was calm and remembered the training I received. I just shouted to the adults to Call 9-1-1 and immediately started doing CPR after we pulled him from the pool.”

Unfortunately, 70% of Americans feel helpless to act during an emergency cardiac situations and only 32% of cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR, which largely attributes to low survival rates.

To view the full story, please visit here.

Studies show that teaching students lifesaving skills of CPR techniques in school will empower our youth and put thousands of lifesavers in our community.  Keeping this in mind, Skylar now teaches groups of students at her elementary school Hands-only CPR because she knows that emergency situations can happen at any time and she wants to do her part to put more lifesavers on the streets of her community.

Thank you Skylar for being a Heart Saver and for going above the call of duty to empower your classmates to learn Hands-Only CPR!

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Roosevelt Island Supports Community CPR Training!

Thanks to advocates Lynne Strong-Shinozaki, Sharon Williams and a great group of volunteers, Roosevelt Island is quickly becoming the safest place to be if you suffer a cardiac arrest!  Lynne and Sharon have helped implement a community training program that prepares New Yorkers to use hands-only CPR and an automated external defibrillator (AED) in the case that someone's heart stops beating.  More than 300 people have been trained in these life-saving skills as a result of their efforts! 

To learn more information, or to find out about future training dates, visit this link:

We hope that the high school on Roosevelt Island soon starts to train students as well so they can be designated CPR Smart like Port Richmond High School was last week.  If Lynne and Sharon have their way, everyone in this vibrant slice of Manhattan will soon be prepared to help save a life! 

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Protecting NJ's Littlest Athletes

In New Jersey, there has been great progress in recent years to make sure that automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are widely available in public places and that people know how to use the devices and perform CPR. Janet's Law, which went into effect this past September, requires all schools to have an AED available at any time the school is open and that someone on the premises is trained.

On February 12, the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee voted in support of a bill that would require recreation departments, youth serving organizations and camps to have defibrillators on site and accessible during athletic events and to have someone on-site that is trained in CPR and AED use.

The bill is now pending a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, but has picked up a number of new co-sponsors. In addition to the prime sponsor, Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, Assemblymen Andrzejczak, Garcia, DeAngelo, Taliaferro, Lagana and Assemblywomen Pinkin and Quijano have all signed onto the legislation as co-sponsors. The American Heart Association thanks them for their commitment to this potentially life-saving legislation.

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Charlie and Beth Melita-Fair Haven, NJ

Charlie and Beth Melita tragically lost their 21 year old son Robert to a sudden cardiac death in December 2012. They wanted to find a way to honor Robert's memory and give back to the community who provided support to their family.  Together with his close family friend Paul Lenskold, Charlie formed Robert Anthony Melita Enterprises LLC (aka R.A.M. Ent.) an "Integrated Financial Services Company" in October 2013 to create a legacy in his son’s name. RAM Enterprises focuses on educating Americans on how to acquire business capital and also being financially responsible through securing "Living Benefits". RAM Enterprises is committed to community projects that include donating additional defibrillators to area schools and providing scholarships to high school seniors just to name a few.

Charlie and Beth are working with Meridian’s Community Outreach team to spearhead an initiative called "Building a Community of Life Savers". This program has educated and trained over 5000 high school students in Monmouth and Ocean counties to date. Initial training began on April 28, 2014 and included over 700 students from Robert’s alma mater, Rumson Fair Haven Regional High School. Charlie and Beth also testified before the Senate Education Committee in June 2014 in support of New Jersey's CPR in schools law.

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